Isothermal and non-isothermal infiltration and deuterium transport: a case study in a soil column from a headwater catchment

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Isothermal and non-isothermal infiltration experiments with tracer breakthrough were carried out in the laboratory on one intact column (18.9 cm in diameter, 25 cm in height) of sandy loam soil. For the isothermal experiment, the temperature of the infiltrating water was 20°C to the initial temperature of the sample. For the two non-isothermal experiments water temperature was set at 8°C and 6°C, while the initial temperature of the sample was 22°C. The experiments were conducted under the same initial and boundary conditions. Pressure heads and temperatures were monitored in two depths (8.8 and 15.3 cm) inside the soil sample. Two additional temperature sensors monitored the entering and leaving temperatures of the water. Water drained freely through the perforated plate at the bottom of the sample by gravity and outflow was measured using a tipping bucket flowmeter. The permeability of the sample calculated for steady state stages of the experiment showed that the significant difference between water flow rates recorded during the two experiments could not only be justified by temperature induced changes of the water viscosity and density. The observed data points of the breakthrough curve were successfully fitted using the two-region physical non-equilibrium model. The results of the breakthrough curves showed similar asymmetric shapes under isothermal and non-isothermal conditions.

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